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Become A General Education Teacher

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Working As A General Education Teacher

  • Training and Teaching Others
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Coaching and Developing Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Deal with People

  • Make Decisions

  • Stressful

  • $68,120

    Average Salary

What Does A General Education Teacher Do

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers prepare younger students for future schooling by teaching them basic subjects such as math and reading. 

Duties

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers typically do the following:

  • Create lesson plans to teach students subjects, such as reading, science, social studies, and math
  • Teach students how to study and communicate with others
  • Observe students to evaluate their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses
  • Teach lessons they have planned to an entire class of students or to smaller groups
  • Grade students’ assignments to monitor their progress
  • Communicate with parents about their child’s progress
  • Work with students individually to help them overcome specific learning challenges
  • Prepare students for standardized tests required by the state
  • Develop and enforce classroom rules to teach children proper behavior
  • Supervise children outside of the classroom—for example, during lunchtime or recess

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers help students learn and apply important concepts. Many teachers use a hands-on approach to help students understand abstract concepts, solve problems, and develop critical thinking skills. For example, they may demonstrate how to do a science experiment and then have the students conduct the experiment themselves. They may have students work together to learn how to collaborate to solve problems.

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers generally teach kindergarten through fourth or fifth grade. However, in some schools, elementary school teachers may teach sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. They typically teach students several subjects throughout the day.

Some teachers may teach in a multilevel classroom that includes students across two or more grades. They may teach the same group of students for several years.

Kindergarten and elementary school students spend most of their day in one classroom. Teachers may escort students to assemblies; to classes taught by other teachers, such as art or music; or to recess. While students are away from the classroom, teachers plan lessons, grade assignments, or meet with other teachers and staff.

In some schools, teachers may work in subject specialization teams in which they teach one or two specific subjects, either English and social studies or math and science. Generally, students spend half their time with one teacher and half their time with the other.

Some kindergarten and elementary school teachers teach special classes, such as art, music, and physical education.

Some schools employ teachers of English as a second language (ESL) or English for speakers of other languages (ESOL). Both of these types of teachers work exclusively with students who are learning the English language, often referred to as English language learners (ELLs). The teachers work with students individually or in groups to help them improve their English language skills and to help them with assignments from other classes.

Students with learning disabilities or emotional or behavioral disorders are often taught in traditional classes. Kindergarten and elementary teachers work with special education teachers to adapt lesson plans to these students’ needs and monitor the students’ progress. In some cases, kindergarten and elementary school teachers may co-teach lessons with special education teachers.

Some teachers maintain websites to communicate with parents about students’ assignments, upcoming events, and grades. For students in higher grades, teachers may create websites or discussion boards to present information or to expand on a lesson taught in class.

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How To Become A General Education Teacher

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers must have a bachelor’s degree. In addition, public school teachers must have a state-issued certification or license.

Education

All states require public kindergarten and elementary school teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Some states also require kindergarten and elementary school teachers to major in a content area, such as math or science. They typically enroll in their college’s teacher preparation program and also take classes in education and child psychology in addition to those required by their major.

In teacher education programs, future teachers learn how to present information to young students and how to work with young students of varying abilities and backgrounds. Programs typically include fieldwork, such as student teaching. For information about teacher preparation programs in your state, visit teach.org.

Some states require all teachers to earn a master’s degree after receiving their teaching certification.

Private schools typically seek kindergarten and elementary school teachers who have a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All states require teachers in public schools to be licensed or certified. Those who teach in private schools are generally not required to be licensed. Most states require teachers to pass a background check.

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers are typically certified to teach early childhood grades, which are usually preschool through third grade, or elementary school grades, which are usually first through sixth grades or first through eighth grades.

Requirements for certification vary by state. In addition to earning a bachelor’s degree, they are required to complete a teacher preparation program and supervised experience in teaching, typically gained through student teaching. Some states require a minimum grade point average. States often require candidates to pass a general teaching certification test, as well as a test that demonstrates their knowledge of the subject they will teach. Although kindergarten and elementary school teachers typically do not teach only a single subject, they may be required to pass a content area test to earn their certification. For information on certification requirements in your state, visit teach.org.

Teachers are frequently required to complete annual professional development classes to keep their license. Some states require teachers to complete a master’s degree after receiving their certification.

All states offer an alternative route to certification for people who already have a bachelor’s degree but lack the education courses required for certification. Some alternative certification programs allow candidates to begin teaching immediately after graduation, under the supervision of an experienced teacher. These programs cover teaching methods and child development. After they complete the program, candidates are awarded full certification. Other programs require students to take classes in education before they can teach. Students may be awarded a master’s degree after completing one of these programs.

Training

In order to receive certification, teachers need to undergo a period of fieldwork, commonly referred to as student teaching. During student teaching, they work with a mentor teacher and get experience teaching students in a classroom setting. The amount of time required varies by state.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Teachers must collaborate with teacher assistants and special education teachers. In addition, they need to discuss students’ needs with parents and administrators.

Creativity. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers must plan lessons that engage young students, adapting the lessons to different learning styles.

Patience. Working with students of different abilities and backgrounds can be difficult. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers must respond with patience when students struggle with material.

Physical stamina. Working with kindergarten and elementary-aged students can be tiring. Teachers need to be able to physically, mentally, and emotionally keep up with the students.

Resourcefulness. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers need to be able to explain difficult concepts in terms that young students can understand. In addition, they must be able to get students engaged in learning and adapt their lessons to meet students’ needs.

Advancement

Experienced teachers can advance to serve as mentors to newer teachers or to become lead teachers. In these roles, they help less experienced teachers to improve their teaching skills.

With additional education or certification, teachers may become school counselors, school librarians, or instructional coordinators. Some become assistant principals or principals, both of which generally require additional schooling in education administration or leadership.

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General Education Teacher Jobs

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General Education Teacher Career Paths

General Education Teacher
Language Arts Teacher Special Education Teacher Education Director
Academic Dean
10 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher For Grades Language Arts Teacher ESL Instructor
Academic Director
8 Yearsyrs
Special Educator Lead Teacher Coach
Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Math Teacher Instructor Head Coach
Athletic Director
5 Yearsyrs
Science Teacher Site Coordinator Youth Director
Children's Ministries Director
5 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher For Grades Special Educator Adjunct Professor
Curriculum Director
9 Yearsyrs
Math Teacher Adjunct Faculty Chairperson
Dean
5 Yearsyrs
Special Educator Case Manager Adjunct Instructor
Department Chairperson
7 Yearsyrs
Educator Social Studies Teacher Lead Teacher
Director Of Preschool
7 Yearsyrs
Lead Teacher Case Manager Special Education Teacher
Director Of Special Education
12 Yearsyrs
Coach Preschool Teacher Pre-K Teacher
Director Of Teacher Education
5 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher Adjunct Instructor Instructor
Education Director
7 Yearsyrs
2nd Grade Teacher Instructor Instructional Designer
Education Program Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Coach Program Manager Education Director
Educational Program Director
6 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher Assistant Principal
Elementary School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Elementary School Teacher Special Education Teacher Assistant Principal
High School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Elementary School Teacher Lead Teacher Assistant Principal
Middle School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Language Arts Teacher Reading Teacher Kindergarten Teacher
School Director
7 Yearsyrs
Lead Teacher Assistant Principal
School Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Educator Adjunct Faculty Assistant Principal
Vice Principal
9 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a General Education Teacher?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Certified Teacher 4.5 years
Bilingual Teacher 4.4 years
2nd Grade Teacher 3.2 years
5th Grade Teacher 2.6 years
6th Grade Teacher 2.6 years
8th Grade Teacher 2.6 years
4th Grade Teacher 2.4 years
1st Grade Teacher 2.2 years
Top Employers Before
Teacher 18.9%
Internship 4.2%
Tutor 3.8%
Volunteer 2.0%
Instructor 1.9%
Top Employers After
Teacher 18.6%
Educator 3.8%
Tutor 3.0%
Coach 2.2%
Internship 1.7%

Do you work as a General Education Teacher?

General Education Teacher Demographics

Gender

Female

80.8%

Male

17.6%

Unknown

1.6%
Ethnicity

White

81.4%

Hispanic or Latino

9.7%

Asian

6.9%

Unknown

1.5%

Black or African American

0.5%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

56.5%

Portuguese

4.3%

Nepali

4.3%

Japanese

4.3%

French

4.3%

Chinese

4.3%

Italian

4.3%

Indonesian

2.2%

Filipino

2.2%

Ukrainian

2.2%

Greek

2.2%

Carrier

2.2%

Hindi

2.2%

Mandarin

2.2%

Korean

2.2%
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General Education Teacher Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

12.9%

Grand Canyon University

11.7%

Walden University

8.8%

Touro College

8.2%

Fordham University

4.7%

Johns Hopkins University

4.7%

New York University

4.1%

Northern Arizona University

4.1%

Hunter College of the City University of New York

4.1%

National University

3.5%

Wilmington University

3.5%

University of North Texas

3.5%

Lamar University

3.5%

Dowling College

3.5%

Teachers College of Columbia University

3.5%

Liberty University

3.5%

University of New Mexico

3.5%

Wayne State University

2.9%

Mercy College - Dobbs Ferry

2.9%

Nova Southeastern University

2.9%
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Majors

Special Education

22.0%

Elementary Education

21.8%

Education

16.7%

Educational Leadership

7.6%

Business

4.0%

Early Childhood Education

3.7%

Curriculum And Instruction

3.4%

General Education, Specific Areas

3.0%

English

2.6%

Psychology

2.4%

School Counseling

1.9%

Nursing

1.4%

History

1.4%

Teaching Assistants/Aides

1.4%

Interdisciplinary Studies

1.3%

Counseling Psychology

1.3%

Educational Technology

1.1%

Communication Disorders Sciences

1.1%

Liberal Arts

1.0%

Ethnic, Gender And Minority Studies

0.9%
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Degrees

Masters

52.4%

Bachelors

25.6%

Other

12.7%

Certificate

3.7%

Doctorate

3.7%

Associate

1.5%

Diploma

0.2%

License

0.1%
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How Would You Rate The Salary Of a General Education Teacher?

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Top Skills for A General Education Teacher

ClassroomManagementGradeCurriculumMathematicsLessonPlansGeneralEducationCurriculumSpecialEducationTeachersClassroomInstructionSocialStudiesIEPBehaviorGradeLevelProfessionalDevelopmentWorkshopsSmallGroupInstructionStateStandardsLiteracySubjectAreasLanguageArtsSpecialNeedsPositiveRelationshipsLearningStyles

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  1. Classroom Management
  2. Grade Curriculum
  3. Mathematics
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Created and implemented an effective positive behavioral support system for classroom management.
  • Instruct 4th grade curriculum, design and develop programs to meet the academic, intellectual and social need of students.
  • Conducted action research on mathematics and self-efficacy.
  • Combined discipline plan with effective measures and various lesson plans to increase concentration, participation, and progress student accountability.
  • Collaborated with Special Education Teachers on accommodations to help special needs students gain access to general education curriculum and classroom.

How Would You Rate Working As a General Education Teacher?

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Top General Education Teacher Employers

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General Education Teacher Videos

A day in the life of a Special Education teacher

A Day in the Life - Special Education Teacher

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER